A Practical Case for Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is a “force of nature.” These are not my words, but the words of some die hard feminists like Camille Paglia and others like the former editor of Ms. Magazine or the president of Los Angeles NOW.

Paglia, a staunch Obama supporter, had this to say in one of her Slate columns:

I like Sarah Palin, and I’ve heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is — and quite frankly, I think the people who don’t see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn’t speak the King’s English — big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns — that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

Quotes like this from traditional opponents of the GOP have sent the Liberal Left running for their antacids. So if people like Paglia can recognize the incredible depth and raw talent of Palin then why can’t the GOP? Why have they been so inept at using her to help fuel its revival? They don’t need to wait until 2010 or 2012 or even 2016. They can start using her today.

First of all let’s understand who Palin is. She is not a politician she is a civil servant in the traditional sense of the word. She’s an ordinary citizen who didn’t like the way things were being run so she ran for office to try and fix them. If anything, she is the incarnation of the “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” ideal. Until  the ’08 election I don’t think she had any serious ambitions beyond the state of Alaska. She loves Alaska and Alaska loves her.

Sarah is a non-intellectual. This doesn’t mean she’s not intelligent. It means she doesn’t carry with her all the baggage the great politician factories like Harvard and Yale try to infuse into the DNA of their graduates. As Yuval Levin put it:

This is why Palin was seen as anti-intellectual when, properly speaking, she was simply non-intellectual. What she lacked was not intelligence—she is, clearly, highly intelligent—but rather the particular set of assumptions, references, and attitudes inculcated by America’s top twenty universities and transmitted by the nation’s elite cultural organs.

In simple terns, Sarah was deemed a knuckle dragging Luddite simply because she didn’t use the traditional “Washington-speak” most people are used to hearing from politicians.

Palin does something quite naturally that most politicians have to spend years learning. She connects with people. More people watched her speech at the GOP convention than watched Obama’s Invesco Field Hollywood Extravaganza. Obama spent 4 million on his speech while Palin and the GOP spent less than 150 thousand dollars on some fancy clothes and shoes. As Lorne Michaels, creator of SNL renowned for his ability to spot nascent talent, said, “She is very powerful…she connects with people.”

In all of this a mystique has grown up around Sarah Palin. “Is she really that down-to-earth?” “How could an attractive woman be in politics and not get herself into some kind of scandal along the way?” “What does she really believe about foreign policy?” This mystique is part of the reason why the liberal media can’t leave her alone. At once they both fear her potential and are drawn to her by a compelling curiosity. It is part of the reason, I think, that so many people (70,000 at a Florida rally) flock to see her when given the chance.

It’s time the party and the conservative movement understood Palin’s potential and put it to use.

How should they do this?

  • Palin needs to get hold of a good media savvy team and perfect her public image. Then Sarah Palin should start hosting GOP fund raisers across the country. People of all political stripes would gladly pay to meet her, talk to her or just satisfy their curiosity.
  • Palin’s ability to attract media attention should be put to good use. One of the challenges we face is getting the MSM to pay serious attention to the conservative point of view. The GOP should craft its message and then give it to Palin to be the messenger to the MSM. They will pay attention to her and she will get heard. I think she’s the only Republican who can successfully wrestle the spotlight away from Obama at this point. Don’t forget that more people watch Palin debate Joe Biden than watched any of the McCain-Obama debates.
  • Palin needs to campaign for local republicans whenever possible. This would bring national attention to the candidate and…well…might actually help them win.

I agree that Sarah Palin is a force of nature. Sarah Palin is not the next Ronald Reagan, she is the first Sarah Palin. It’s time the GOP put her to work using her natural ability to re-energize the conservative movement and rescue the country from the Left.